Monday, October 02, 2006

Studio 60: Once more, with feeling

Live blogging begins at 10:00. Updating throughout the show.

8:20 Pre-game: Last week, after the second episode aired, Ken Levine wrote, "Notice when people talk about STUDIO 60 they don't start the conversation by saying, 'I really liked it' or 'I hated it'? Instead it's always, What did you think?' I suspect no one really knows what to make of it."

I don't know if no one knows, but I sure don't. I'm hoping that this week's episode wins me over because I'm pretty sure I'll be watching, although I promise not blogging, at least the next four or five, and I hate to think that I'll be watching and hating it.

I've decided I don't ever want to see the Crazy Christians sketch. It's too much like the inside of Snoopy's doghouse now, better in the imagining than it could ever be realized. Plus, knowing Sorkin, the deck would be stacked. The sketch wouldn't be the least bit offensive to his brand of intelligent people's---that is, to us godless liberals'---way of thinking, allowing us to sneer at the priggish and humorless Christian types who don't know good comedy when it reaches up and bites them in the Scripture.

I do want there to be jokes. I want to hear the writers come up with a few good ones, I want to see bits of the sketches. Some commenters on last week's post argued that it isn't necessary, it's part of the show's charm or smartness or seriousness or something that we have to imagine the proof of these people's talents, but that's spotting Sorkin an awful lot of runs.

Ken Levine's waiting for Sorkin to provide some funny too. Maybe that's what's keeping Sorkin from trying, knowing that Emmy Award winning comedy writers like Ken are waiting with folded arms and set jaws, saying, "Ok, smart guy, you think it's so easy. Show us what you got."

Ok, if you're early and want to warm up while you're waiting, you can read Ken's take on last week's episode and this post by Dennis Perrin, another real comedy writer. Dennis' post riffs on a number of things besides Studio 60, including SCTV, Dana Carvey's short-lived show, and Mr Show, and ends with the news that, when it comes to the Stooges, Dennis is a Shemp man. Sad, really.

Also, read Ken on doing improv with Robin Williams. Ken says it's like being Fred Astaire's cane.

9:50. Friday Night Lights premieres tomorrow??? Friday Night Lights is on on Tuesday Nights?

Heroes had a shot of a map superimposed over a car driving down a lonley desert road. Always liked that trick, hokey as it is.

This is not Heroes blogging. Don't worry. Or don't get your hopes up. But there's a guy on a roof looking like he's going to jump and didn't last week's episode end with a guy jumping off a roof?

9:59. We're in. The Focus Group.

We're starting with people talking about the last show.

Amanda Peet's listing great shows of the past that focus groups didn't like. Point: we're up there with All in the Family.

Oh good. 9/11. We're an extremely polarized country right now, did you know that?

Republicans hate comedy.

Please tell me this is just Sorkin looking for relevency and not something that's really going on backstage in the real world.

Audrey Hepburn's dancing. Is Blue Girl here?

10:06. A sketch! A sketch! Tom Cruise and a witch. Nice pairing.

Rob Reiner's the guest host? Their second show? Rob Reiner's that hip?

I want Sarah Paulson to spend the show talking like Holly Hunter. Actually, I want Holly Hunter to spend the show talking like Holly Hunter.

Sinners get rich, saints get shot, and God don't answer prayers a lot, says Steven Weber. Amanda Peet should have smacked him.

DL Hughley. How long before he mentions he went to Yale again?

Now I know why Sorkin chose to do a show on a comedy show. He can have his characters lecture---um, talk---about current events.

Charlotte's husband from Sex and the City is not long for the show.

Brad Whitford is shocked that the focus group was asked if the show's patriotic. "This is a TV show, not the Iwo Jima Memorial." Commercial for Flags of Our Fathers follows. Coincidence? You make the call.

No one's ever going to ask if Friday Night Lights is patriotic. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

10:20. Matthew Perry's a pussy boy.

No, he's not. He's moving the Rumsfeld sketch.

Sexy brunette flatlined with the commedia dell'arte sketch. This gives Sarah Paulson a chance to remind us that sexy brunette's sleeping with Matthew Perry. Good. Because I'd forgot. There's not a lot of romantic charge in this love triangle.

Perry and Whitford are a great team though. Whitford seems to be enjoying being the straight man.

Timoyhy Busfield's job is to be the only sane human being in television.

10:30. You know, I don't know if this guy's doing a good impression of Tom Cruise. Was the last Tom Cruise movie I saw Rainman????

The President's approval rating is 7 guys in Tupelo, Mississippi, says Brad. "I imagine the water feels a little safer." Boy, is Charlotte's husband toast.

Amanda Peet's still dealing with the old DWI. Sorkin can't get over the fact that people made a big deal over his drug problem.

Whoa!!!!! Amanda Peet's husband is Jack Ryan! That makes her Jeri Ryan. Where's her silver jump suit?

"Can we have this conversation moving?" A walk and talk at last!

"No comedian you admire has ever been afraid of silence." WC Fields would like that one. He advised when ever you feel like doing more, do less. Something like that.

Matthew Perry just had to remind us that he and Sarah Paulson used to be an item. This is not a hot romance.

She's right about the joke but she's not right. The people in that town aren't rich and powerful. Picking on them is not the same as picking on Bush and the Christian Right's leadership. But then they are people whose attitudes about Grease and their votes for Bush are pretty much cause and effect.

10:45. Pretty good Nicolas Cage.

Montage of show reminds me of SNL in the David Spade Chris Farley years. Professional, slick, sort of funny, predictable, a little desperate.

I don't believe for a moment Sarah Paulson could make that bear roaring joke work.

Ah, at last, Matthew Perry and Sarah Paulson are finally having a "moment."

Nope, moment's over. Bigger moment with Brad and Matt.

Numbers are in. They went up 9 per cent over last week. Rob Reiner is that hip!

Doesn't this network have any other shows for Amanda Peet to worry about?

DL Hughley just gave his blonde to the nerdy guy. What's up with that? Is DL gay?

Sexy girl's got to wear the t shirt. Will we see it?

Nope. Matt Perry's leaving and we're going with him. Is this going to be the ending of every show? Matt/Aaron all alone with his deep thoughts and all that writing to do?

All done.

Wrap up tomorrow morning. Thanks for playing. Those of you in the west, please leave your thoughts overnight.

I'm glad I don't have a focus group.

Oh, wait...

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